Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Who are you?

We don't know, really, who we are to other people. We don't know the roles we play or the needs we fill in the lives of our friends and loved ones.

Husband is a musician. He taught himself to play the guitar as an adolescent (blame Lennon, then Hendrix) and later taught himself harmonica and keyboard and eventually, more eclectic instruments like kalimba and dijiridoo. He was going through an intense roots period when I met him, very primal blues stuff, which was one of the things we had in common. And he was uncommonly good at electric blues, especially bottleneck blues - as a former music reviewer I could look beyond my fondness for him and recognize that. In recent years his interest was piqued by the new stuff being created in the house, techo and trance genres and he revisited Captain Beefheart, Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson as he explored the new music and new technological possibilities. A second bedroom in our house has been converted into a recording studio and he spent hours in there with a growing collection of 1970s and 80s era keyboards and racks of mixing boards and aural exciters and other equipment I don't even know the names of, composing and editing. I'd sit on the bed, tictacing away on a computer, listening to him next door, perfecting melodies and polishing haunting, hypnotic tunes. He really had a talent for this. The technology and his talent had reached a synchronicity, and he started talking about actually pulling together a CD, not commercially, you know, but a collection of his work, a little personal accomplishment. Maybe even send it to the local college station, what the hell, one of their techo or trance shows. Just tick that off the amateur musician "someday I'm gonna" list.

One Saturday night a few months ago we were sitting in bed talking, like we do, and we were, as I recall, just discussing the deafness, and he wrote, "Who do I make music for now?"

I probably couldn't possibly have been more stunned. I knew his music was important to him, and I knew I was important to him but I could not have guessed and did not understand that I was important to his music. I can't read or write music or play an instrument. Husband, he's a gifted musician, I've always known that. But I haven't a clue. He'd ask me for an opinion on a piece, on some specific fine point, and I'd feel terminally inadequate because I had none of the language to explain my impressions, no real understanding of the mechanics of songwriting. That I am a reason for his music - that I am the person who he needs to have hear the tree fall in the forest, at least in the beginning - that would never have occurred to me.

And then, since the CI evaluation in Halifax, in November, I have noticed that he is preparing his hope in his own way. Suddenly sound editing programs are proliferating like dandelions on his laptop. Suddenly he spends hours sitting on the bed editing the digital pieces he composed months ago on the studio keyboards. And a few days ago, without mentioning the deafness or the implant or anything else, he said, kinda out of the blue, "I think it's time to start working on the CD again."

You just don't know who you are in the lives of other human beings. Please, handle with care.



Blogger Chris Clarke said...

Kiss him for us, willya?

8:40 p.m.  
Blogger Rob Wynne said...

I came over here after Brian made his post in racs, and started reading backwards. This may be one of the most moving and beautiful things I've read in ages. Do you mind if I point to it on my LJ?

*hugs* Good luck Tuesday, hon. You'll be in my thoughts.

12:54 p.m.  

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